February 27 : Anger

Attachment is exaggerating the good qualities of someone or something and then holding on to it: “I want this! I need it! I must have it! It’s the source of my happiness–forever!” 

Anger is the opposite: “This thing is going to harm me! It’s evil! I’ve got to get away from it or I’ve got to clobber it!” Fight or flight. Anger is based on an exaggeration of a bad quality that is there or a projection of a bad quality that is not there, and the magnitude of the situation gets inflated in our minds so that it is the most horrible thing that is happening in the whole wide world. When we are angry, either at another person or ourselves, by definition the anger is unrealistic because it is based on exaggeration and projection. Yet at the moment we are angry, we do not think, “My mind isn’t perceiving reality as it is.” We think, “I’m perceiving reality completely correctly.” 

When somebody criticises you, what does your mind do? Usually one of two things, either, “How dare you say that about me! I am not like that! This person is awful!” or, “Oh no! What is said is true! I really am an awful person! I hate myself ! Ugh!” We need to ask ourselves whether these ideas are really true, or are they exaggerations and projections? If we listen to this mind, then we will very likely find ourselves with an unfortunate outcome. 

So, what do we do with this mess of anger? Anger is bad news. I am not saying that we are bad people because we are angry. I will repeat that! Being angry does not mean you are bad. I am not saying you should not be angry because “should” does not make any difference in reality. When we are angry, we are angry. The choice is, do we want to continue to be angry and reap the consequences of our anger; or do we want to apply the antidotes to anger and reap the benefits of returning to a balanced, calm state of mind? That is the question before us at the time we are angry. 

When you are angry, are you happy? No. Automatically, right there, we see 90 | February February | 91 from our own experience that anger is not beneficial for human happiness because we are miserable when we are angry. We are really unhappy. 

By understanding the truth of the situation, we can stop and put a nasty outcome on hold. We can avoid the negative karma that comes with anger. We can avoid the hurt feelings and the retaliations. Look at your own experience and see if this is true. 

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